By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
It’s Tuesday, so two topics will be tackled by our writers. But it’s a different twist than you’re used to reading. We decided everyone needs a break from the current, less than pleasing, state of the team.
So, to take advantage of Monday’s day off, our writers took the time to dig into their own archives to share a little more about them. This will be a Tuesday edition like no other. This should be a fun one and we could use a little fun right now. Did our writers share? Oh, you bet!
Here are this week’s Tuesday questions.
What 5 baseball-related “secrets” do you hold?
1. Bill Freehan’s daughters used to baby-sit me. You’ll never meet a nicer family or a baseball player who always had time for fans who approached him, no matter where he was. Hands down, my favorite all-time Tigers catcher for so many reasons.
2. Pete Rose was my pen pal while he was with the Big Red Machine. My mother worked for a Cincinnati-based company with ties to the Reds and they heard I was a big fan and loved Rose. They told him, he wrote me and we stayed in touch for several years.
3. When Ernie Harwell came to Washington to speak at the Smithsonian, I had the great honor to have some one-on-one time talking with him. To say he was the world’s nicest man is an understatement. What a huge treasure he was!
4. My first baseball-related “blog” was actually published in 1975 when the Tigers had the audacity to trade Mickey Lolich to the Mets. Even in my early teens, I had to let the world know how upset I was via a letter to the editor in the Detroit Free Press. And I’m still upset.
5. The job I’d most like to have in baseball is to help the Tigers strengthen their branding. The second job? To be the Phillie Phanatic mascot. And yes, I’m really serious. Philly is only 1.5 hours away btw….
6. OK, so Kurt will shoot me. But I have to include this extra one for my husband’s sake. In something straight out of Barry Levinson’s movie, Diner, I made my husband, then fiancé, memorize the entire starting lineup of the Tigers.
1. On a hot Saturday morning, with a trusted 100% chance of rain forecasted, my dad, during his days as Tiger Stadium Manager, took me and my brother down to the stadium to help pull the tarp off the infield. With the team out of town and a weekend of rain expected, only a skeleton crew was available. The infield grass did suffer some damage but nothing like it could have suffered if covered under that heat for an entire day.
2. Certainly one of the more unique fun facts was my mom’s finest hour at Tiger Stadium, besides, of course, meeting her future husband at the old ballpark. I believe it was on Lutheran Night, which the Tigers still celebrate today, when my mother got the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at Tiger Stadium. How did she get that opportunity? Well, she knew a guy.
3. Dr. Clarence Livingood was the Tigers’ long time team physician decades ago. And his son, Bill, once served as the House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms. You may know him better as the gentleman who comes out prior to the State of the Union Address and announces, “Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!”
4. In my much younger days at Tiger Stadium, it was common for my mother and me to head up to the Mural Room which was located upstairs near the front offices off Trumbull Avenue. We would go there to wait for my dad to finish up closing up the park after another night game. I won’t forget the time when I played bartender while Jim Campbell and Ralph Houk sat across from me talking and smoking cigars.
5. My father left behind his 2 precious World Series rings. In a quiet raffle with my 3 brothers on the porch of an old cottage we rented in Petoskey 2 years ago, I was lucky enough to call the ’68 ring my own. To my great surprise, I slipped it onto my finger and it fit perfectly, as if it was made for me. Talk about feeling closer to your dad at a very special time.
6. Hey, if Holly gets 6, I get 6. Richie Hebner once grabbed my dad’s butt in the dugout during a rain delay and told him he was a quart low. There ya go Holly, we’re even!
What 5 beliefs about baseball or the Tigers may be surprising for readers to know?
1. My opinions about players and Front Office personnel evolve and change. You don’t really know someone until you’ve seen their track record over time. Case in point, Dave Dombrowski, who I thought was terrific until the past couple years when I started to see the mess he was leaving behind.
2. I live in a world between old and new baseball statistics. Old stats don’t tell the whole story and many of the highly-advanced stats are so removed from reality and the eyeball test. If I use stats, I have a “rule of 3” which means I need 3 sets of stats to give a clear picture – and won’t suck the joy out of understanding the game.
3. Teams that focus on adding big stars and mega-wattage to their roster are at an advantage when it comes to the Hall of Fame but not when it comes to the playoffs. Teams with solid athletes at every position have fewer weaknesses and thus the playing advantage. But it’s much harder for individuals from those teams to gain entry into Cooperstown. Sound familiar?
4. Managers with either noticeable energy, or are original thinkers or inspiring messengers are the keys to winning in October. Just look at the managers who were at the helm when the Tigers were successful: Hughie Jennings (energy), Mickey Cochrane (leadership), Steve O’Neill (inspiring), Mayo Smith (original thinking), Billy Martin (energy and a couple other things not printable here) and Sparky Anderson (inspiring).
5. Fans shouldn’t be able to vote for any elections or awards. And the media should be restricted for many of the elections unless they can prove they are current with today’s game and can use due diligence in their research before voting. I’d rather see baseball executives, Front Offices, managers, coaches and players do the voting for all current-day awards because they are undoubtedly the most knowledgeable.
1. I don’t agree with any of the new rules put in place the last couple of seasons in the interest of protecting players from injury. I feel they detract from the makeup of what truly made the game great. Making a rule to protect catchers from collisions at the plate hurt the game; a rule to protect the second baseman and shortstop hurt the game; both stripping the game of physicality and excitement.
2. The days of dads teaching their kids how to keep score during the game or showing them how the professionals play, teaching them the rules; those days seem to be gone. I firmly believe baseball games are used for parents to entertain their children. They are no longer teaching tools for young athletes.
3. I long for the days when ballparks celebrated their team, not their city. I didn’t love Tiger Stadium just because my dad ran the place for so long, even though that certainly had an influence. I loved the Old Girl because when you walked in, it was like walking into baseball. It was a private paradise, paying homage only to the game. No buildings in the background to gaze at or distract. The game was enough.
4. Baseball now competes with cell phones. It competes with ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. Baseball has become about attendance, not interest. Franchises provide attractions for people with no intention of watching the players on the field; which disgusts me to no end.
5. Because of the monster baseball has created, catering to the non-fan, it’s only appropriate that fans lose their right to have any role in determining who plays in the All- Star Game. The last 2 seasons suggest the only fans who care about who starts the game are the cities that were and are starving for championships. The rest of them, stripping them of the right to fill out a ballot, would be greeted with a great big yawn.